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The Emptiness of Religion

Because Christ is in us, we have the assurance that our sins are forgiven. The Lord Jesus came into the world to pay the price for our sins. “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (1 Timothy 1:15).

Early in the 16th century, England was visited by Erasmus, one of the greatest scholars of the Renaissance. While he was at Cambridge, he made a profound impression on at least one of its scholars. Thomas Bilney had been feeling the emptiness of the religion he had been taught. He felt that Erasmus had knowledge of a secret that was hidden from English eyes, and vowed he would purchase every book that came from the great master’s pen. Erasmus had translated the New Testament into Latin, so Bilney purchased a copy of it. He summarized its effect upon him by saying:

My soul was sick and I longed for peace, but nowhere could I find it. I went to the priests, and they appointed me penances and pilgrimages. Yet by these things my soul was not set free. But at last I heard of Jesus. It was then, when first the New Testament was set forth by Erasmus, that the light came. I bought the book, being drawn by the Latin rather than by the Word of God, for at that time I knew not what the Word of God meant. On my first reading I chanced upon these words, “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.” This one sentence through God’s inward working did so light up my poor bruised spirit that the very bones within me leaped for joy and gladness. It was as if, after a long dark night, day had suddenly broke.

Bilney knew himself to be a sinner and trusted Christ to save Him. The indwelling Christ gave him the assurance that his sins were truly forgiven, and he gave his life to unfolding to others the unsearchable riches of Christ.

In Christ, Radio Bible Class Publications, pp. 11-12

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